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History

Ordinary Things: Treadmills

Ordinary Things: Treadmills

“In 1818, civil engineer William Cubbitt designed the first treadmill as a device to punish inmates…” Learn this and everything else you never wanted to know about treadmills, as explained by an ordinary guy in the compelling new web series Ordinary Things. Then learn about pillows, stairs, and onions too.

Improbable Tales of Survival

Improbable Tales of Survival

(PG-13: Language) From a man who was shot through the head, to another who jammed a drill bit in there, to a guy who crash-landed his plane and fought off a pack of wild animals, Sam O’Nella Academy is here to regale us with another round of strange but true stories.

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The Machine that Made Everything

The Machine that Made Everything

The industrial revolution kicked off the biggest boom of innovation in the history of humanity. Machine Thinking looks back at one specific machine which came at the very start of that era that he considers as the linchpin for much of what came after.

Dead Body Hijinks 2

Dead Body Hijinks 2

(PG-13: Language) After sharing the tale of a corpse used for entertainment, Sam O’Nella returns with a grislier tale of a dead body used for… personal entertainment. But not before pointing out how understandably few people know about the value of a Pope’s blood.

How Punk Became Punk

How Punk Became Punk

(PG-13: Language) Punk rock shook up the music scene back in 1976, but “proto-punk” bands dating all the way back to the late 1950s defined the genre without even knowing it. Trash Theory looks back at the history of punk rock, and the roots of its anti-establishment sounds.

The DeLorean Paradox

The DeLorean Paradox

Introduced in 1981, the DeLorean DMC-12 was supposed to be the “car of the future,” yet despite its striking looks, it wasn’t that groundbreaking. The company that built it quickly crashed, but Back to the Future made it an icon and dream car for decades to come.

Dead Body Hijinks

Dead Body Hijinks

(PG-13: Language) Sam O’Nella Academy shares the story of Elmer McCurdy. He was a bandit in the early 20th century who got killed in a shootout with the police. But he stayed above ground for an astounding 65 years, thanks to crooks and clueless entertainers.

Why Japan’s Games Get Extra Fingers

Why Japan’s Games Get Extra Fingers

While many video game characters have four fingers, the practice is frowned upon in Japan, resulting in special variants of everyone from Bart Simpson to Crash Bandicoot. Censored Gaming looks at the history behind the strange 4-fingered discrimination in the country.

Mass Hysteria Throughout History

Mass Hysteria Throughout History

There have been numerous recorded instances of groups of people losing their minds at the same time. The always informative, and usually gross Sam O’ Nella Academy shares some of the more notable cases of the bizarre behavior known as mass psychogenic illness.

What Is Federal Land?

What Is Federal Land?

If you’ve ever wondered why so many areas of land are considered federal property here in the good old U.S. of A., you’ll want to tune into CGP Grey’s video, which provides a great lesson on how land went from being doled out for free to being closely held by the government.

In Praise of 70mm

In Praise of 70mm

If you’ve never seen a movie shot and played back in its original 70mm analog format, you’re missing out on a true cinematic experience. The Royal Ocean Film Society looks back at the history of this awe-inspiring format, and how it may just have saved Hollywood back in the day.

Bird Mania, Strongboys & Tunnel Bears

Bird Mania, Strongboys & Tunnel Bears

Historia Civilis is packed with excellent history lessons. While researching, they sometimes stumble across random knowledge that don’t fit into their normal flow. Here are three such strange tales. If nothing else, it’s worth listening to for dog name ideas.

History’s Worst Non-Water Floods

History’s Worst Non-Water Floods

(PG-13: Language) How exactly does a flood occur without water? Sam O’Nella Academy is here to school us on some of the strangest disasters that covered the earth with massive, deadly amounts of liquid stuff from super-sticky molasses to flaming whiskey.

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The American Revolution Oversimplified

The American Revolution Oversimplified

In case you fell asleep in school, OverSimplified boils down the major talking points about the birth of our (sometimes) great nation, what led to the American revolution against Britain, and how that all worked out. Bonus points for the seamless Vikings promo.

Why We Eat Popcorn at The Movies

Why We Eat Popcorn at The Movies

Other than Milk Duds and a gigantic soda, there are few things we enjoy more at the movies than a bucket of freshly-popped popcorn. But why is it that this crunchy and savory treat is our go-to theater snack? Find out, in this informative video from Origin of Everything.

The Republic of Indian Stream

The Republic of Indian Stream

Did you know that for a brief period of time, there was actually a small nation that sat between the U.S. and Canada along their Eastern border? Half as Interesting offers a brief history of the Republic of Indian Stream, why it existed, and what happened to it.

The Only U.S. Emperor

The Only U.S. Emperor

The Sam O’Nella Academy is here to teach us about one Joshua Norton. This once wealthy San Franciscan decided that he was the head bitch in charge of our nation after a series of misfortunes left him destitute and a bit insane. Then the media gave him a voice and fame.

The Secret US City

The Secret US City

During WWII, Oak Ridge, Tennessee served as a facility for nuclear weapons development, housing nearly 75,000 people, all while managing to keep the entire existence of the town top secret. Half as Interesting explores the fascinating history of this small southern town.

Debunking Historical Myths

Debunking Historical Myths

Did you know that nobody was actually burned at the stake during the Salem witch trials? Sam from the Sam O’Nella Academy sets us straight on this and nine other historical misconceptions, told with his usual mix of veracity, humor, and primitive drawings.

The History & Future of Everything v2.0

The History & Future of Everything v2.0

Kurzgesagt dusts off their 2013 video The History & Future of Everything and gives it a shiny coat of paint, with updated animations, and references to events of the last 5 years. Every time we hear about the Middle Ages, we feel much better about today’s problems.

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AC: Origins – Discovery Tour

AC: Origins – Discovery Tour

This new mode in Assassin’s Creed: Origins turns the game into an educational experience. Discovery Tour mode allows players to explore the world around them on a leisurely historical tour. The mode includes 75 guided tours of monuments, buildings, and characters.

The History of Shrinking People

The History of Shrinking People

The movie Downsizing might have come up a little short in both its reviews and box office take, but it did succeed in the VFX department. Here, the film’s effects supervisor Jamie Price walks us through the history of shrinking people down on the big screen.

Indigo Blue

Indigo Blue

While you might think your jeans are dyed indigo, they’re not. The real deal is hard to come by, and much richer than what we’re used to. The fascinating thing isn’t the color, but the natural properties it offers that drove Samurai to wear indigo fabric beneath their armor.

Why American Land Looks Like This

Why American Land Looks Like This

When you fly over much of rural America, you’ll notice that there are lots of squared-off little blocks of land forming cool geometric patterns when observed from the sky. But why is this the case, and not so much in other parts of the world? Half as Interesting explains.

Earthrise

Earthrise

Captured by astronaut Bill Anders during the Apollo 8 mission in 1968, Earthrise is not only one of the most iconic photos of all time, but it was the first time humanity was able to see our planet from a distance, providing a humbling sense of our place in the universe.

Extraordinary Origins of Ordinary Things

Extraordinary Origins of Ordinary Things

This compilation of clips from Great Big Story explores the origin stories of instant ramen, car air freshener trees, the Kool-Aid Man, and more. We wonder if you could actually make a cast from Silly String. Also, “Liquid Ass” isn’t exactly an ordinary thing.

Music of Memes (1700-2017)

Music of Memes (1700-2017)

You’ll recognize most of these meme-worthy tunes, each of which epitomizes a moment in time as well as just about anything else about the era. Though we think JordiTK should have gone with Yello’s Oh Yeah instead of Trio’s Da Da Da to represent ’80s German minimalism.

Evolution of Game Graphics

Evolution of Game Graphics

Data Radar look back at the incredible progress made in video game graphics in the last five decades – from the rudimentary black and white pixels of the ’70s, to the near-photorealistic imagery of today. Next time you gripeabout a game’s graphics, watch this.

London’s Killer Smog

London’s Killer Smog

Back in 1952, London, England was engulfed in a think blanket of smog that was so nasty that it caused the city to come to a halt, and actually ended up killing an estimated 12,000 people. SciShow looks back at this tragic result of industrial development without controls.

BIC: The Company Behind the Pen

BIC: The Company Behind the Pen

Business Casual chronicles the rise of pen giant BIC. Although he didn’t invent the ballpoint pen, BIC’s co-founder Baron Marcel Bich understood economies of scale and brought affordable pens, lighters, and razors to the world. But the company has had its share of busts too.

The Banana Republics

The Banana Republics

(PG-13: Language) Long before the clothing store, wealthy plantation owners in Central America built massive empires on the backs of its people, all thanks to a little potassium-rich fruit we like to put in our cereal. Sam O’Nella Academy offers up a brief history lesson.

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